This interview was conducted by email between Lady Moogie and Duchess Dame Andralaine Escuyer of Stonehelven. A bio of Andralaine is available on the Amazon website.
Moogie: What year did you start Amtgard? How old was the game? How old were you?
Andralaine: I started Amtgard June 11, 1983. Amtgard was only 4 months old and I was 30.
Moogie: How were you introduced to Amtgard?
Andralaine: There was a 14 yr old boy who lived 2 door. He knew I was interested in the fantasy/medieval stuff. He had seen fighters in the local park, so I drove him down there, got tele #'s, talked to people and the next week, I was out there with garb and a sword and the rest if history.
Moogie: Were you initially attracted to the fighting aspect? If not, how did you become so?
Andralaine: I was attracted immediately. I was fighting on my first day. The day before I joined Amtgard, my divorce papers were signed, sealed and delivered, so I had something to fight for, take out agressions............in a good way.
Moogie: What was the representation of women on the field? What was the status of female fighters?
Andralaine: When I joined Amtgard, our Monarch, which was the very first in Amtgard was Queen Sir Tawnee Darkfalcon. The park Champion was Joela. Women were respected on the field so it was easy to come in and start fighting.
Moogie: Were there efforts to recruit or encourage female fighters?
Andralaine: As I said above, we were already encouraged and we had numerous women fighters and we grew constantly.
Moogie: Were there obstacles for women fighters?
Andralaine: No, not during the early years of Amtgard.
Moogie: Who were your main influences in fighting?
Andralaine: Nashomi and Tawnee Darkfalcon
Moogie: What events have been notable or influential in your fighting career?
Andralaine: The first memorable event was when 2 teams were battling each other to get to the Wizard played by Nashomi. How it happened, I don't know, but I was the last one from both teams and I had to face him. This was in 1984, I believe. I had to fight him by myself. We fought for the longest time till he finally killed me. He was the catalist in some ways that helped me fight my best.
Moogie: How have you changed in Amtgard over the years?
Andralaine: Changed? That's a loaded question. I have always been me. Ok, I've grown much older in 19 yrs. I was already an adult when I started so there wasn't that maturing to gain.
Moogie: Has the representation and status of female fighters changed? How?
Andralaine: I don't think it's changed. It's just that many different kinds of people have joined Amtgard who have different views of what women should be in Amtgard. Sad are the people who think that women are only good for cooking and cleaning and color.
Moogie: Do you think the overall experience of Amtgard women has changed?
Andralaine: The change comes with the diversity of beliefs of the roles of women. So yes, things are not what they used to be. Some women are accepted as equals and some are shoved aside like lower class.
Moogie: You were founder of both the Amazons, an all-female household, and Isacar, a company of women. When were they founded?
Andralaine: I wasn't the one who founded Isacar. It was originally started by Pan Farstar in 1983. She was the Captain when I first join right after I joined Amtgard. She left Amtgard not soon after that so I took over as Captain with no one else and then added one by one till I went over seas with Hubby. I gave the Captainship to Esuom then and she kept it for the longest time.
The Amazon Household was organized in 1989.
Moogie: What were the ideas behind those two organizations?
Andralaine: I guess Pan wanted to straighthen the concept of women fighters. I carried it on with the same thought.
Amazons were created for and by the women of Amtgard. We believed that Amtgard Females needed a household where they could be a family with support in all the aspects of Amtgard.
Moogie: How do you think they have changed or grown over the years?
Andralaine: Isacar lasted about 8 or 9 yrs and went downhill when Esuom left.
Amazons have been around 13 yrs and still growing strong. We have changed tremendously over the years. We've had to enlist rules of life, why's and wherefor's of the females of Amtgard. We have grown in strength, attitude and accomplishments and plan to grow more and be the longest and oldest all woman household.
Moogie: What advice would you have to new women fighters?
Andralaine: Don't let the negative thoughts of some people about women in Amtgard influence you with what you want to do in Amtgard. Be proud of being a woman and always remember. Amtgard wouldn't be Amtgard without Women and that the first real fighters and first Monarch of Amtgard was Queen Sir Tawnee Darkfalcon, a woman.
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